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Miskatonic Union - Astral Quest

Miskatonic Union
Astral Quest
by Jason “Monotonija” McCraw at 23 February 2018, 12:07 AM

Shades of LIZZIE BORDEN, METALLICA in the early 80s, IRON MAIDEN with their self-titled debut LP, and HELLOWEN are abound on this concept album; which is a throwback to the 80’s Metal that started it all. MISKATONIC UNION is the brainchild project of former members of metal giant acts OSIRIS, FORHELL, ATOMIC GENOCIDE, and UNBLESSED. Their album "Astral Quest" does a perfect job in enveloping that one-of-a-kind feeling that one can only get from the true Heavy Metal of old. While the influences (of which there are many) are certainly audible within the structures of each and every track, MISKATONIC UNION manage to keep their listeners engaged throughout the record by doing what they do right.

"Astral Quest" is rich in its Lovecraftian lyrical themes, falsetto rebel yells, and guitar-driven anthems. In fact, the album is primarily guitar-heavy - a route rarely taken in the world of Metal today. This is a big part of what gives it success in its attempts to recapture the sound that existed exclusively in the early to mid-80s, when Heavy Metal was truly coming into its own as a genre.

From track one ("Awakening") we get a clear picture of exactly where MISKATONIC UNION is planning on taking us: the very bowels of the bleak and dark universe where Heavy Metal saw its birth. Guitars switching tirelessly between rhythm and lead excerpts, 1980s style vocals, driving percussion, and those deep, rolling bass lines that define Heavy Metal. The lyrics are perfectly dark, and that mood is reflected in the music with little effort. The second song on the record, "Road To The Mountains Of Madness", kicks up the pace with its relentless drumming and angst-ridden picking, reminding those of us who are older of those long lost days of yore where our school books were adorned with brown paper bag covers that were literally covered in the names and logos of our favourite bands and slogans oh, so long ago.

"Astral Quest" delivers this emotion throughout its entirety without fail, evoking images of long hair drenched in Aqua Net hairspray, black leather chokers, and all the things that helped shape Heavy Metal as both an image and a sound. As the album winds down with its epic final track, "The Quest", I am confronted by the one and only gripe I could possibly have with this record - wishing that it were just a bit longer. Regardless of its length, however, I do realize that this wonderful recording from MISKATONIC UNION is an essential when it comes to those feel-good albums that have that special something that takes one back to their own youth, giving that carefree feeling back to them that is all too often forgotten and ignored in the dull regularity that is our adulthood. Hurrah, guys! A terrific throwback album!

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Awakening
2. Road To The Mountains Of Madness
3. Bushido Ninja
4. Miskatonic Union
5. Nostradamus
6. Astral Wings
7. Captain Sparrow
8. Where Is Your Nation Now?
9. I Always Do What I Want
10. The Quest
Lineup:
Carlos Retamales - Drums
Raul Saa  - Vocals
Hector Paris - Guitars
Paul Rajcevic - Bass
Rodrigo Meza - Guitars
Record Label: Iron Shield Records
     


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